It’s been a great run so far here at TAA. I have had the chance to work with artists who got books published, were paid to illustrate covers, sold their first piece of art to someone they never met over the internet (I’m always excited about how excited artists get about this), and generally made huge strides toward the independent, abundant lifestyle that every artist dreams of having
Someone who reviewed this site mentioned that we don’t post a lot, but when we do it’s good quality. We “feature people who are success stories – who tell you how they did it.”
We have some incredible things coming up this year.
The Challenges of Marketing Trends
After teaching artists how to sell their art online for years, I’m seeing some interesting trends.
Problem #1 – there’s too much advice on how to sell art online, and too few artists doing a good job of it. I’ve been running TAA for years, and in that time, literally dozens of new ‘how to sell art online’ blogs have sprung up. Most of them have withered away and died, but a few of them are pretty good. The truth is that precious few artists are doing well online, so you have to look at the pioneers to see what they’re doing – and then see how you can adapt, not copy.
Problem #2 – search engine marketing is now expensive. Unless you have money for Pay Per Click ads or Search Engine Optimization services, you will be competing against established brands. Google is heavily weighted in favor of large brands with name recognition. As an artist, you can implement certain image SEO techniques, but it’s becoming more and more difficult to do so.
Problem #3 – everywhere you look online, people are telling you that you need to be on Facebook…or Twitter…or Pinterest…or some other social media. People are still bragging about how many followers they have. People are spending money to get attention on social media, without a plan for what to do once they have that attention. Hey, even we have a Facebook marketing course – but that alone won’t be enough.
Problem #4 – There’s a proliferation of art malls on the internet. Crappy companies that want you to list your art with them, but who probably won’t ever make any effort to guide the right collector to the right piece. Their business model is to list as much art as possible, and get as much traffic as possible, then hope that they match up. I like to call this the “spray and pray” method of selling art. In this situation, the artist benefits but little.
The Solution for Bad Marketing
The way around these problems is not some new fancy technique. A single method of marketing is not going to emerge that will suddenly allow you to become rich as an artist. There is something you can do, however.
You can start looking at each of these marketing techniques as part of your overall Content Marketing strategy.
Content Marketing is the fancy catch phrase for building a marketing program that will attract the right collectors.
Look – it used to be that sales people were the primary driver of art sales. You walked into a gallery and a salesperson talked you about the art, gave you all of the information that you required, and then they pressured you into buying something.
Now, we are experiencing a fundamental shift in the way that sales take place. Because of the Internet, collectors can, and do, research an artist before they make a purchase. They can use search engines and social media to find an artist who matches their living room or corporate office. They can find an artist to draw their tattoo, create a stencil for their walls, or any other kind of art.
The question is, when people go looking for art, will your art be found? Content Marketing is the way that you can make sure that this happens.
You, and Your Art, are the Key to Good Content Marketing
When people buy art, they buy the artist. They want to know your story, what inspires you to create, how you did it, and what you are working on next.
Good Content Marketing is storytelling. It’s NOT churning out crappy articles and blog posts just to get search engine attention. It’s NOT spamming your followers on Facebook and Twitter. Learning to tell your story in a compelling way, across multiple mediums, is the key to good content marketing.
As an artist, you already have a vision. You know why you create. If you work in a series, even better. That gives you a story to tell.
One of my favorite artists is great at Content Marketing. Gwenn Seemel’s new series Crime Against Nature depicts the interesting variations on fertility that nature shows.
“For all my investigating and exploring, I still couldn’t control whether or not I can have children, but I could decide to have a children’s book instead. So I did. Crime Against Nature is this book and it’s also a series that I am exhibiting as a version of the text that viewers can wander through as they read. Whatever the format, book or show, Crime Against Nature is meant for the kid in all of us: the person who hasn’t yet felt the pressure to conform, the one who still sees the infinite possibilities of being.”
Gwenn has published her series of paintings not just as paintings, but as a book, a series of blog posts, some great videos, a live showing, and more. Gwenn, and she would probably never say this about herself, is a skilled story teller. She knows how to communicate her point of view through modern tools.
I Want to Help You Build Your Own Content Marketing Strategy
Over the next weeks and months, we are going to explore what it really means to do Content Marketing as an artist. We will explore topics like:
1. How to Tell the Epic Story of Your Art – understanding your own story as an artist, and learning how to tell that story to others (hint: we’ll use Beowulf as an example)
2. Building a Blog That Makes Collectors Swoon – how can you get collectors genuinely excited by blogging?
3. How Sharing is the Secret to Online Success – if the images of your art are just sitting on your website, but nobody is seeing them, what good are they doing you? Learn the secret to getting those images to work harder for you!
So, are you excited? What else do you want to know about Content Marketing?
Check Out Our Course on Content Marketing
Want to learn exactly how to sell art online? Our flagship course will show you exactly what you need to do. Click here to learn to more.
Melinda Golden says
Great article. I know as an artist you need to blog. I have just created a schedule for creating blog posts that I will stick to. You can be posting great content, but how do you drive traffic to that blog?
Great question Melinda. We should definitely address driving traffic in future blog posts.
Roopa Dudley says
Melinda methink that if Artists would take the time and come up with creative titles for their works, that alone can drive a lot of traffic to their blog. Instead of naming their paintings “Untitled 2” or “Number 9” for example if the Artists can actually put something relevant and intriguing for example: “Self-Actualized Pawn” then people (in Psychology) looking for deeper meaning for Actualization or people (Chess Players or Learners) looking up Chess or Pawn may get that Painting in their Google Search. This is basically how I found a lot of great paintings myself on the internet. When I am looking for a particular subject, I Google it and voila!
Joseph Maas says
Shazam! Sign me up!
You are saying very similar things that I have been telling our hosted customers for years. (I also manage the support dept for a web hosting company.)
More and more, folks don’t do business with companies but rather, with people. That is, with the reps from the company or directly with the entrepreneurs with which they have had a pleasing experience. Of course the quality of the product or service is a must, but quality alone will seldom propel all the word of mouth that is needed to become truly and sustainably successful.
Be an imaginative content producer and wrap that content in your own brand of folklore. Then you’ve got at least the first ticket to ride.
Want a great, historic example of this? Then look no farther than Disney. No, not the corporation, but the imagination that launched this empire. What Mr. Walt Disney did as a young artist to capture the imagination of the masses should not be overlooked as passé, but rather as a learning point and possible path to follow, at least in some small way.
Shazam! Good times!
Dawn Irvine says
I know of an amazing artist ( Zachary Connelly) who is working his way thru college. I have bought many of his peices. He too is trying to put his art online to sell. Great article. I look forward to learning more about content marketing.
Lisa Firke says
I think this is an exciting direction for you. Looking forward to what unfolds…
Me too Lisa! Should be a fun ride.
Darrell Crow says
Cory, Once again, you hit the nail on the head.
I’m sure you remember me as the artist that you interviewed once we hit 1,000,000 views on YouTube. Some of our individual videos are approaching the half million mark now and we’ll hit 3,000, 000 views late February. But the real work is not the youtube channel, or the facebook, or the twitter pages. The real work is redirecting traffic to the conversion infrastructure from social networking sites as this. That took me two years to get it right. A lot, and I mean the key to profits is through content marketing TO THE RIGHT AUDIENCE. The first step, in my book, to on-line success is identifying to whom are you selling, what problem (need) are you meeting, how you meet this need, where they can find you, etc….jj Good job Cory in this article.
Thanks Darrell! Absolutely remember you, and great work on the videos!
Debra Wenlock says
This strategy is exactly what I need to be working on right now – looking forward to your content about how to improve my content!
I should have a Like button for comments!
Susan Varo says
This is a fantastic article just like many of the others I’ve read and I am very excited. I am very interested in reading and learning new ways of marketing myself as a visual artist. One of the biggest challenges for me is selling artwork online without incurring too many expenses and with all the art malls online trying to get a viewer to notice a particular artist becomes very difficult when it is already heavily saturated with art. I’d like to know if visual artist employ Content Marketing strategies while posting on social sites or anywhere with just their art stories and histories would that pique enough interest for a website visit and attract a certain type of buyer? Although, I have begun to find an audience for my work, I have done this thankfully by not heeding the advice as what others have said on how my work should, basically, be created to please others. As mentioned on this post in a reply, Disney happens to be one of my greatest inspirations. Looking forward to what’s coming next. Susan
Hi Susan – glad you’re finding some success! It is absolutely about creating your work, understanding how your work connects with people, and then tell that story in every place you can do so.
Arlene Holtz says
This looks like great information – exactly the kind of info I have been wanting to explore more in 2013. I am so glad I found this blog – thank you! I’ll be following you for sure.
Great post. I am looking forward to seeing future post on story telling.
I would like to know if an email newsletter is worth the time and effort, what should go in it, and how to get more Newsletter sign ups.
Jaime Haney says
Chaaaaw! Yeah I’m excited! And I only want to know everything there is about it!
So I do have a question as it turns out. If story telling is one of the keys, then how long of a story are people willing to read? I can get a wee bit long winded. Is there a magic word count?
I gotta say, I am just PUMPED at all the really valuable information I glean from your site.
With the changes you mentioned in how art is being marketed online, do you see the Facebook course you have available as still relevant and applicable? Thanks!
Hi there! I have been reading most of what you send in emails and they are quite interesting. The thing that bothers me a great deal is that people come to my website and exploit it. They pinch my art work and ideas and I see it in advertising. So I have virtually stopped because I am thoroughly disappointed with the whole deal – with no sales and no interest apart from ripping me off.
What can I do. Make my work look unappealing with a clear label over it. It doesn’t matter what you come up with to protect your work someone out there is able to take it. This is most artist’s bone of contention. If we could come up with an idea to protect our art that would be of great value in itself!
Not to get off topic, but my problem is I am a suspicious wreck when it comes to art thievery. I’m trying to relax about it, but still it bugs me. How can we as artists not get ripped off just by somebody right clicking and saving a picture while making prints or whatever for themselves. Usually, some sites have a watermark for you, but some people are smart to take the logo off. Is there a way to subtlely watermark it and track it down or whatever for yourself?
Lisa Freeman - Acacia PR says
Selling artwork is a long-term job. Each step and strategy is helpful in some way. We generally recommend maintaining a regular status when it comes to marketing and PR. It’s good to use a lot of resources to promote one big event, but sometimes it’s more important to keep smaller resources running regularly. If you want to make a living from creating art and being an artist, you should see it as a full-time job or a business to run. In the same way you prepare and create your art, you should have a budget for the marketing and promotion of your artwork.
i am art men of mud work art
so i want to my art sale .how to marketing
my have a lot of art
so please give me information’s